NEWS | Oct. 27, 2017

2nd Infantry Division Artillery Stays Ready to 'Fight Tonight' with Training Exercise

By Pfc. Ethan Valetski

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Dozens of Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division Artillery, stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), participated in a deployment readiness exercise, Oct. 16-18, in preparation for an upcoming deployment to the Republic of Korea.

The purpose of the exercise was to stress unit and installation deployment systems and processes to ensure the readiness of the 2nd Infantry Division Artillery early entry command post.

"A large part of the challenge is making sure everyone is on the right page," said Maj. Dana Norris, the air defense artillery manager and brigade aviation element chief at 2nd Infantry Division Artillery. "Not only are we making sure our Soldiers are prepared to deploy in little to no notice, we're cross coordinating with the Air Force to make sure our transportation and equipment is taken care on the way to our destination and back."

The 2nd Infantry Division Artillery received a no notice alert to deploy the early entry command post within 96 hours.

Within that timeline, the unit conducted necessary pre-deployment tasks and prepared essential personnel and equipment for a deployment to a forward location.

"Everyone has a role to play in this exercise," said Sgt. Matthew Boisclaire, an air defense battle management system operator and team leader at 2nd Infantry Division Artillery. "The Soldiers participating are performing essential tasks like making sure our vehicles are ready to move out, communications are up and running, as well as the equipment brought has been well maintained and ready to be put to use."

With assistance from the 62nd Airlift Wing, 2nd Infantry Division Artillery Soldiers and equipment were loaded on to a C-17 Globemaster, a military transport aircraft, and deployed from JBLM to the Moses Lake International Airport located in Grant County, Wash.

Col. Stephen Snelson, the 62nd Airlift Wing vice commander and one of the pilots for the exercise, said conducting joint training of this nature is important because it provides his crews the opportunity to conduct loading inspections and aerial maneuvers with a real combat load of personnel and equipment.

Once on ground at Moses Lake, the Division Artillery team established its mission command systems and executed critical Force Field Artillery tasks.

This exercise is the second time 2nd Infantry Division Artillery has conducted a no notice deployment readiness procedure in the last year. Exercises like these are a critical part of the unit's preparations to support operations in Korea as part of the 2nd Infantry Division.

"What we have done here is create a proof of concept," said Norris. "These types exercises let us know how prepared we are as Soldiers, if we're told we need to fight tonight."